SATURDAY SLATE

MAIN CONTESTS:
$100,000 AUD on Draftstars ($15 entry, 165 max)
$15,000 USD on Draftkings ($15 entry, 35 max)


MELBOURNE vs FREMANTLE

MCG, 1.45pm ADST

SINGLE SLATES:
$15,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 25 max)
WEATHER: 24 degrees and partly cloudy, no chance of rain.
BOOKIES: Melbourne $1.51 favourites, 161.5 over/under.

CBA’s & ROLES

It was green across the board for the Melbourne midfielders in the AAMI, which was to be expected with Oliver, Viney and Brayshaw missing. VandenBerg, Jones, Sparrow and Neal-Bullen can kiss that time goodbye once a couple of the big dogs return, but Viney’s slower recovery is encouraging news for Jordon’s CBA’s, who has been rewarded for a coming-of-age pre-season. Harmes was already locked in for a return to a midfield role and Melbourne will have no issues squeezing him in after they rolled with the tightest CBA rotations of all clubs last year. Gawn will concede a slightly larger ruck share to Jackson this year to aid in his development, with Goodwin citing a 70/30 split for his greatest asset. May’s intercepting (9 marks) and distributing (7 kick-ins) roles were clear to see before suffering a concussion on a team-high 102 AF. Hunt was quiet in his return to half-back flank, as was Tom McDonald on his redemption tour. To be fair, both had supply issues with the Bulldogs creaming the Demons in all facets of the game. 

Meek was the big talking point, impressing with his competitiveness against an All-Australian in Naitanui and churning out a 70 AF. He earned his chance through Darcy’s injury absence initially, but had even more tasks heaped on his plate mid-game with the early knee issue to Lobb. Serong and Cerra were missing from the midfield group which allowed Blakely to press his claims, although fellow hopeful Tucker has since succumbed to injury. We’re expecting Fyfe to play even more forward this year and that’s probably even more likely following the injury to Walters (hamstring) and Fremantle’s tall forward stocks dwindling in general. Hughes (133 AF) filled in for Luke Ryan admirably with his 13 marks and it will be interesting to see if he can score as freely alongside Freo’s preferred interceptor. Hayden Young took the kick-ins without Ryan but had limited influence in general play, while Aish pushed up to a wing.

TEAMSHEETS

 

Notable outs: Brown, Weideman, Viney, Hibberd. 

  • Harmes is locked in to the midfield with Viney out and Sparrow/Jordon lower on the totem pole. Might have to cover some wing time here but Sparrow has done that in the past too.
  • Neal-Bullen is an intriguing DFS prospect with high half forwards seemingly copping a boost from the rule changes.
  • McDonald spent time on a wing a fortnight ago but will have to stay forward with Demons going in small.
  • May clears the concussion protocol and has enough height behind him to continue with the intercepting/distributing gig. Could feast on a Dockers forward line devoid of tall talent.

Notable outs: Darcy, Lobb, Walters, Frederick, Sturt. 

  • Dockers are in dire straits with the forward line injuries. They’ll likely have to resort to swinging Pearce forward as a marking threat, and even chopping out in the ruck with Darcy overlooked and Meek set to ruck solo on debut.
  • Ryan returns, so be aware that Hughes (intercept marks) and Young (kick-ins) could see some regression from their AAMI showings.
  • Acres and Aish the main wingmen here with Cerra and Brayshaw covering the overlap.
  • Blakely to run his standard high-CBA, low-TOG program. Really hurts his ceiling.
  • Expecting Fyfe to spend a lot of time forward with the injury crisis to both the tall stocks and Walters.

TRENDS

Melbourne conceded the 2nd-most points to MID’s last year.
Melbourne conceded the least points to RUC’s last year.

Fremantle conceded the 2nd-least points to MID’s last year.

HISTORY

Gawn – 120, 129, 124
Petracca – 111, 102, 110
Oliver – 100, 113, 141

Cerra – 121
Fyfe – 90, 88
Serong – 104


ADELAIDE vs GEELONG

Adelaide Oval, 4.35pm ADST

SINGLE SLATES:
$20,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 35 max)
WEATHER: 22 degrees and mostly sunny.
BOOKIES: Geelong $1.24 favourites, 164.5 over/under.

CBA’s & ROLES

Laird’s midfield role wasn’t fully guaranteed with the off-season reset, so it was reassuring to see a heavy CBA presence from the accumulator. The Crows have given up on Jones as a midfielder which is great news for DFS punters, with Schoenberg, Seedsman and Keays preferred as part-timers. Berry and Thilthorpe had a couple of looks but seemed unlikely to feature in Round 1, at least until new of Crouch’s groin issue filtered through and the former was confirmed for a debut. Brodie Smith committed to his half-back gig with Laird up the ground, taking half of Adelaide’s many kick-ins at the hands of a rampant Power outfit. MacPherson was the secondary distributor with Milera also missing and even pumped out a team-penultimate 87 AF. The Crows were short-staffed in the key defensive posts with Butts and Murray headlining, so we could see some big hauls kicked on them early this season. Hinge (29 AF) was quiet in his club debut as part of the wing rotation, while Rowe (58 AF) worked into the game as a supply-starved small forward.

Jenkins as the back-up ruckman wasn’t how I saw his recruitment to Geelong shaking out, but it’s been huge for his streamability in DFS with this AAMI 86 AF replicating last year’s 86 in a similar situation – no Fort or Stanley. Key defenders in De Koning and Blicavs helped shoulder the load. Dangerfield fulfilled his promise of playing more midfield time this year with a team-high 17 CBA’s, stretching out Geelong’s stars with Jeremy Cameron added to the front half. Selwood was busy before being subbed at 61% TOG, but that won’t be much less than his average this year you’d think. Higgins ticked the legs over and even found himself at a couple of CBA’s, while Constable was extremely busy with 38 AF in his 22% game-time as the starting sub. Atkins kicked off his life as a small defender with an impressive 78 AF, but it was Jordan Clark’s massive 135 AF that stole the limelight as his hard-running had him popping up absolutely everywhere – and that was from just 66% TOG as he weirdly sat the entire 3rd quarter. 

TEAMSHEETS

Notable outs: Crouch, Doedee, Talia, Milera. 

  • A groin injury to Crouch opens the door for Berry to debut, a tackling machine who is physically ready to compete against men. Also opens the door for more attendances for Keays/Schoenberg and cameos for McHenry.
  • Expect Brodie Smith and McPherson to build continuity in their defensive roles, but Hamill and Sholl are interchangeable between defense and a wing. Seedsman locked into the midfield rotation.
  • Rowe to debut but will be starved of supply for the 2nd-week in a row with Port and now Geelong. Scales on goals so leave him alone.

Notable outs: Duncan, Fort, Cameron, Tuohy. 

  • Geelong loved an 8-man defence last year, with Atkins always able to swap back to a small forward role if the new rules don’t lend well to the structure.
  • Clark is guaranteed wing time with the names behind him, so feel free to go hard on his exposures in GPP’s. Huge ceiling and a license to run wherever he likes as we saw in the AAMI.
  • Jenkins replaces the injured Jeremy Cameron, so no concerns about Dangerfield playing more forward to compensate. Jenkins will chop out in the ruck and has been effective in that role as a Cat so far.
  • Parfitt has been getting all the CBA’s he can handle lately and Duncan’s absence extends that for at least another week.
  • Love Stewart here. So many tall defenders behind him, so he has full license to intercept and control the forward thrusts from defence.

TRENDS

Adelaide conceded the 2nd-most points to Key DEF’s last year.
Adelaide conceded the 3rd-most points to Gen DEF’s last year.
Adelaide conceded the 3rd-most points to Key FWD’s last year.
Adelaide conceded the 2nd-most points to Gen FWD’s last year.
Adelaide conceded the most points to MID’s last year.
Adelaide conceded the 4th-most points to RUC’s last year.

Geelong conceded the least points to Key DEF’s last year.
Geelong conceded the least points to Gen DEF’s last year.
Geelong conceded the least points to Key FWD’s last year.
Geelong conceded the 3rd-least points to Gen FWD’s last year.
Geelong conceded the 2nd-least points to Elite MID’s last year.

HISTORY

Crouch – 153, 95, 101
Laird – 131,
Sloane – 83, 108, 120
O’Brien – 96, 128

C Guthrie – 150
Dangerfield – 108, 92*, 132, 151, 121, 112, 131, 118, 129
Stewart – 105, 108, 104
Clark – 79, 96


ESSENDON vs HAWTHORN

Marvel, 7.25pm ADST

SINGLE SLATES:
$25,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 40 max)
WEATHER: Under the roof.
BOOKIES: Hawthorn $1.84 favourites, 170.5 over/under.

CBA’s & ROLES

If there were any doubts as to who runs the Essendon backline, those doubts have been erased with Ridley taking all 7 of Essendon’s kick-ins. The same goes for Merrett in the midfield with his 134 AF and 0.98 CBA Rate, and is an encouraging sign for those hoping that Rutten is more consistent with his midfield rotations than Worsfold was. If so, the stocks of Parish (116 AF, 0.73 CBA Rate) and Caldwell (75 AF, 0.75 CBA Rate) will rise. Shiel only played 55% TOG in this one which might have helped, but McGrath’s new wing role was the main facilitator. Draper was cotton-wooled early Essendon’s only AFL-standard ruckman, but looked the goods when he was out there.  Heppell and Hind were used across half-back as expected, with the former Saint forward in particular impressing before a shoulder stinger ended his night early. Langford (half forward), Devon Smith (wing/half forward), Laverde (key defender), Stewart (key defender), Cahill (small defender) and Hooker (key forward) were the other roles of note under Rutten’s reign. 

McEvoy was knighted as skipper this off-season and looks to have taken back the ruck crown too with a 58% CBA share while Ceglar rotated through the forward line. Hawthorn’s midfield was missing some huge names in Mitchell, O’Meara and Wingard, so it’s hard to get excited about inside time for the rampant Phillips or midfield roles for Howe and Morrison. Shiels picked up the slack as per usual, but will play more wing minutes during the year than he did here. Impey plied his trade across halfback before being mothballed early, with Jiath the more relevant emerging defender with 7 marks and 24 touches. The rookies were prominent for the Hawks, with Koschitzke slamming 6.3 through the sticks, Downie scoring 63 AF on a wing and Brockman lighting up the scoreboard early with 3 snags as a small forward. Like Morrison, Moore (86 AF) did most of his damage up the ground and might not be afforded that luxury in the season proper. 

TEAMSHEETS

Notable outs: Hurley, Stewart, Stringer, Zaharakis. 

  • Hooker has played forward ever since Hurley went down and can’t see it changing with Essendon naming plenty of medium-talls in defence. Obviously has the swingman potential but should start up front.
  • Half-back line looks very different with Heppell, Hind and Cahill sparking their counter-attacks this year. Hind looks the best value in DFS with the main distributing role.
  • McGrath named on a wing after limited CBA’s in the AAMI is a slight concern.
  • Shiel looks set to join the M/F rotation to allow Parish and Caldwell some role security and was told to train with that in mind in the off-season.
  • Jones to debut as a key forward but has the newborn deer vibe that doesn’t lend well to DFS.
  • Draper to solo ruck with chop-outs from Wright, who did plenty of that for Gold Coast back in the day.
  • I’ve included Cox in the wing rotation but could end up literally anywhere depending on the angle Mercury makes with Jupiter’s 10th moon, or something. Not an accumulator.

Notable outs: Sicily, Wingard, Cousins, Gunston, Scrimshaw. 

  • No Scrimshaw is excellent news for Jiath and his intercepting role. Had it on a string in the AAMI.
  • Hawthorn probably the murkiest with roles given the rebuilds and Clarko’s propensity to throw the magnets around. Day, Morrison and Howe are all interchangeable in the above depth chart, and you can even throw in the last midfield slot with Shiels able to slide over to help on a wing too. Stay flexible on the exposures of these guys.
  • Who knows what Burgoyne is going to do on any given week, I’ve given up trying to guess. A black hole in DFS either way.
  • Moore had a huge pre-season and should see some time up the ground in this one. A big PPM player.
  • Breust saw a few CBA’s in the pre-season games so don’t be surprised to see him with a handful of cameos. Not enough to change his DFS fortunes though.
  • Impey back to defence to play a line-breaking role. Not convinced it’s fantasy-friendly just yet.
  • Phillips needed on a wing with Mitchell and O’Meara returning, but shouldn’t affect his output much. He’s a ball magnet and an endurance beast, so he’ll be fine as long as he’s allowed to run free.

TRENDS

Essendon conceded the 4th-most points to Gen DEF’s last year.
Essendon conceded the 4th-most points to Key FWD’s last year.
Essendon conceded the most points to Gen FWD’s last year.
Essendon conceded the 3rd-most points to Elite MID’s last year.
Essendon conceded the 3rd-most points to RUC’s last year.

Hawthorn conceded the most points to Key DEF’s last year.
Hawthorn conceded the 2nd-most points to Key FWD’s last year.
Hawthorn conceded the 4th-most points to Gen FWD’s last year.
Hawthorn conceded the 3rd-most points to MID’s last year.

HISTORY

Worpel – 134, 110
Mitchell – 120, DNP, 146, 119
McEvoy – 93, 102* (solo ruck)

Merrett – 153, 99, 134
McGrath – 119
Shiel – 116
Parish – 104, 88
D Smith – 93, DNP, 97, 94
Hooker – 81, 100, 100 (mixture of roles)


BRISBANE vs SYDNEY

Gabba, 7.45pm ADST

SINGLE SLATES:
$15,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 25 max)
WEATHER: 23 degrees and thunderstorms.
BOOKIES: Brisbane $1.22 favourites, 153.5 over/under.

CBA’s & ROLES

Brisbane enjoyed their standing as a contender in this one and opted to play that card by resting veterans Lyons and Zorko up forward more than they might have with 4 Premiership points on the line. Neale played a full game after a calf niggle hampered his pre-season but showed no ill effects with 94 AF and 88% TOG in spite of a slow start. Big O’s first hitout as the undisputed #1 ruck was punctuated by stints from Daniher in the ruck, with Fullarton somewhat surprisingly posing as a key forward instead. Rayner’s ACL was hard to watch, but it opens the door for pre-season superstar Bailey (11 CBA’s) to transition into a hybrid midfield role. Berry (119 AF) might not ever become a full-time inside midfielder, but it might not matter as it seems that he’s unlocked the fantasy cheat code from a half forward flank anyway. Sharp was busy on a wing after being activated as the sub. Birchall and Rich shared kick-in duties evenly, with Rich taking full advantage of the extra space by playing on 100% of the time. 

Hickey’s soft opening as a solo ruck was lacklustre to put it nicely, managing just 37 AF from a CBA Rate of 1.16 and coming up against a no-name fill-in from GWS. Mills’ midfield campaign rolled on with 23 CBA’s, although a concussion issue might have affected his scoring with just 63 AF after a dominant pre-season previously. The usual suspects in Parker, Kennedy, Rowbottom and Florent formed the inside core, with Warner (small forward) and Blakey (wing) providing the cameos. Hewett was the big loser in that regard with 0 CBA’s in his 89% game-time. Gulden burst onto the scene with 72 AF in a half forward role to underline his break-out pre-season, while Campbell (57 AF) worked into the game off a half back. Logan McDonald was dominant after being activated as the sub and earned his Round 1 place with 5 marks and 1.2 in a half of footy. Hayward played out of the goalsquare as a marking forward but might see more freedom with another tall up forward – Sinclair only played a quarter along with McDonald’s half. Wicks (team-high 109 AF) was extremely busy in a small forward gig but he won’t collect 8 marks and 9 tackles every game this year.

TEAMSHEETS

Notable outs: Rayner, Cockatoo, Gardiner. 

  • Pretty obvious roles here for the settled Lions. Sharp is an endurance beast, so they’ll use him on a wing to replace the injured Raynor by sliding Bailey across into the CBA mix.
  • Expecting to see more time spent forward for Zorko this year, adding to Berry’s midfield minutes.
  • Fagan has spoken about getting Cameron into a few CBA’s so might help out with his ceiling and to break some of the tighter grasps from defenders.
  • As I mentioned above, Daniher chopped out McInerney in the AAMI even with Fullarton in the side, and I can’t see why that’ll change a fortnight later.

Notable outs: Franklin, Naismith. 

  • McLean the defender? Hard to see who plays tall in defence if not him. Add that to his list of roles played at AFL level. Dawson might have to play slightly taller than he’d like, and Rampe is used to doing that himself by now.
  • Mills will finally get his midfield time.
  • Gulden showed enough in the AAMI to suggest he’ll spent time up the ground, but the forward line structures will always pull him back. I’d be a lot more keen on him if he’d seen a few CBA’s, but no dice.
  • Blakey comfortable on a wing with Stephens and Bell left out to let him play there. Hewett spent time everywhere last week and could help free up Florent/Rowbottom for more CBA’s with some wing work.
  • Hickey solo ruck with Reid chopping him out. Clenching my buttcheeks for Swans fans.

TRENDS

Brisbane conceded the 2nd-least points to Key DEF’s last year.
Brisbane conceded the 5th-least points to Gen DEF’s last year.

Sydney conceded the 6th-most points to RUC’s last year.

HISTORY

Kennedy – 146, 127, 113
Parker – 129, 80, 67
Lloyd – 115, 93, 90

Rich – 126, 101
Neale46*, 84* (tagged by Clarke, Hewett)
McInerney104 (solo ruck)
Zorko61*, 136, 110 (midfield role, no tag)
J Berry – DNP, 87, 91

 

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